Monday, October 15, 2018

Note to Christmas Self: Edited

I've posted this the past two years and I'm going to post it again but edited slightly as things have changed.

1.  Freeze your doughs at the end of October or November.  Trying to do that in December is a lot to do even though it only took 2 days.  They're going in the FoodSaver (affiliate link)  so the taste won't be affected.  However, remember anything with brown butter does NOT freeze well and loses the flavor you worked so hard for so make those brown butter chocolate chip cookies within a day or two of baking.  Not only will those lose the brown butter flavor, they flatten out once frozen.  Remember you can also pre-make icing and run them through the FoodSaver so you don't have to do 4 different kinds for different things.

This absolutely works.  Keep this up, especially this year.  Actually pre-ball them too so you can break and bake.

2.  Freeze 2-3 meals that you can have the Mr warm up.  You tapped out on dinner a few times and it resulted in some ugliness.  So to make sure everyone is happy, a few frozen meals could go a long way in not killing each other and not resulting in a fast food run or eating cookies for dinner in a moment of "eff it."

This was a lifesaver last year, keep this up for sure!

3.  Sleep on it.  There will be times in the middle of the chaos you want to tap out and make extreme decisions about people and what you have planned the next day.  80% of the time your spirit was renewed the following day.  For the other 20%, tread lightly, think ahead and if it still sticks then go with your gut.

Use your words.   Whether you journal it and come back to it in an hour or so once the adrenaline has died down if you feel the same, discuss with the Mr and then sleep on it if you need to.

4.  When people say and do stupid sh*t, step away from the situation.  Depending on what your stress meter is at when said stupidity rears its head, you will either grin and bear it, give fair warning they need to back off or tear the hell out of someone.  Remember when your heart rate went to about 177/120?  You took a walk and felt better.  Do that even if you have to walk out in the middle of a conversation with an offender.  Your sanity and staying out of jail are more important.

Still applies.  Do not let your heart rate get that high.  You know you and the Mr should know how to work through this but when it comes to others if you need to walk away just say you have diarrhea and go to the bathroom for a break.  Then avoid the person when you come back out.

5.  Stop trying to make holiday memories with people who could care less.  It's their loss, spend precious December days with people who appreciate your efforts and time.  If they don't make merry themselves, they don't have time to make idle people merry.  (Sorry, I lapsed into A Christmas Carol ...Patrick Stewart version (affiliate link))  Take a hint and save your money.

Also still applies and you've done a good job prioritizing the past two years...keep it up!

6.  Pre-bag cookies for delivery people.  Every time you saw a mail or delivery person, it was too late to throw together a bag for them because they're on a schedule.  Pre-bag, press and seal them and have 'em by the front door in the little reindeer bag.  Then maybe the mail lady won't try to steal your printer next year.

You still don't do this.  It's optional.  Your mail person is consistently late and your UPS/FedEx people leave your crap in the rain so yeah, if you're not feeling going out of my way on this one, don't.  (But you know darn well when the season hits, you'll wish you had them available because you're a sap.)

8.  Don't feel guilty for taking Christmas back.  I know you are going to feel weird initially about not being with your family Christmas Day and you're probably going to get a lot of crap for it from family. (Which at that point will be easy to say "see! This is what I'd be missing!  No thanks!")  Try to remember what the last few years have been like that day.  The hosts are visibly tired, stressed and just want the house back to themselves.  The rest of the visit is seeing who gets the "short straw" on tending to Grandma the whole time while her husband ignores her or complains to anyone who will listen about what a task he is choosing to take on.  Top that off with people who may or may not be under the influence of substances and will corner you no matter how far you try to run.  This is not how anyone should spend Christmas.  You will still see them a few days prior, you will still make merry with your mother.  Get back to the reason for the season and enjoy new traditions next year.  You're losing your Christmas were not put on this Earth to be a Grinch.  There are too many people already in line for that job.

Zero guilt.  The holidays aren't the only time you can get together.  Post holiday gatherings are still just as nice.

9.  Stop trying to make cinnamon rolls from scratch for Christmas morning.  Look, I know the bakeries around you suck for cinnamon rolls but what's worse is when you put that pressure on yourself to make them and fail to get the taste you wanted.  You and yeast don't mix.  Get the memo.  Buy them elsewhere and doctor if necessary.

Just buy them unless you get some kind of sadistic streak to make them Christmas Eve this year.  No, buy them.  Stop the insanity.

10.  You were so frazzled from this holiday, you forgot to list a #7.  This illustrates why things need to change.

11.  Don't buy EVERY bag of Christmas candy out there, your stocking was ridiculous and you ate it ALL!  You threw away the Crunch bells when you realized the chocolate tasted off but yeah, you went WAY overboard and you both felt like you were going to barf for 5 days between the stockings and cookies.  Remember the Mr's sugar migraine?  Remember doing a workout and you sweat sugar cubes?

Truth.  You probably will still get too much.

12.  Don't EVER be too lazy to change the channel on the Music Choice Sounds of the Season channel.  You actually hated Do They Know It's Christmas by the third week of December.  This especially applies when Justin Bieber or Clay Aiken comes on.  You need to exercise.  Stop what you're doing and change that crap!  It filled you with hate.

You couldn't even take Christmas in July this year and you found it on July 29th.  It might be time to put a fork in that channel.

13.  Water is CRUCIAL!  For whatever reason, you stop drinking it almost altogether every year and you pay dearly for it.  Remember those gross chapped, dehydrated lips?  Remember your uh...'issues' in the lavatory?  Don't be an dork...hydrate!

THIS.  100x over.

14.  Take your probiotics!  Another thing you skip out on is taking these and your immune system takes a hit every time and you spend the holiday or New Years Eve sick and unable to celebrate.  BE SMART!  This and water should help keep you healthy even if your eating schedule is off.

Nope.  It doesn't matter what brand you try, they never help and after reading some scary crap about how they screw with your already screwed gut microbe, just eat a friggin' pickle.

15.  Don't forget to re-read this about October 15th next year.  Seriously, go set the mail reminder and link to this.  You will thank yourself.


What would you tell your 2018 holiday self that you learned from last year?

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  1. This is a great thing to do and I'm glad you do it mid October because this is exactly when crunch time starts. It can creep up on you if you aren't paying attention but the truth is that before we know it it will be November and we'll be in the holiday season!

    1. I've had this scheduled for 2 weeks so it wasn't even written after last night's familial blow up about our Christmas plans! It's like I knew it was coming. Zero guilt!

  2. I love the idea of pre-making cookie doughs, I always end up trying to do all the baking in one day. I've meant to do that the last few years since you first talked about doing it that way, but I have yet to follow through. I like the idea of pre-balling them too. If I plan right, and make all doughs that bake at nearly the same temperature I can do a quick mix and match sheet of cookies as needed.

    I made a decision last year that I had to just stop fighting it. Within certain paramaters, I just have to accept that Thanksgiving is not going to be spent the way I would choose. Christmas is good as it is, but it's a lot of hard and fast work to get ready between the last day of school and "the big day". Not a lot of time for relaxation and enjoyment until after Christmas Day. I need to find ways to relax, to let go of the need to manage everything, to remember that good enough is good enough, and to stand up for my need for some down-time.

    1. It really does make it so much easier to freeze the dough. I know it's a pain the day you do them but future you will be so grateful! :)

      It is sad when holidays change for one reason or another (or many at once which can be jarring). If there's any way you can take 20 minutes one evening soon to write down the things you can do for Christmas to ease the stress going into it, do it. Set reminders for yourself on your phone/email so they get done. Down time is super important so don't be afraid to take it. You deserve it!

  3. #1 definitely! I'm desperately trying to get through my home projects this month so I have time in November. I also learned that just making dough doesn't work for me. I need to pick recipes that can be frozen completely then baked. Just freezing the dough means I still have to defrost it, roll them or stuff them depending on the confection. I can't seem to just pick simple drop cookie recipes, although I'm going to add a couple to the list this year so I have them in reserve. Thanks for the reminder to start planning now!

    1. Pssht girrrl, I've got no time to thaw either. Just add 2-3 minutes to the bake time and you can bake them straight from the freezer. I like to make my list of cookies that bake at the same temp so I can bake them all together on one monster commercial sheet if I'm baking for different people at different times. Then they are the cookies I intended and not little pastries filled with hate from baking all day! :D

  4. Great list! My main thing is to be done with buying/wrapping as much as possible by Thanksgiving. There will be a few random stocking stuffers and/or fresh food items that will need to be closer to Christmas, but to have the bulk of it bought and completely wrapped and ready to go. Now that I've made a nice dent in the spare room, I really have the space to wrap and stack things in the meantime. So I just need to get off my lazy tookus and do it. LOL

  5. I make up cinnamon rolls right after Thanksgiving, put in a pan and freeze, well wrapped, before that last rise. Take them out on Christmas Eve right before you go to bed, let thaw/rise overnight, and bake as directed next morning. I also make the glaze ahead of time and keep it in the freezer. Voila!


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